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O.V. Vijayan wrote, drew, spoke and lived in his own unique original way
Legend of Khassak. What made O.V. Vijayan different from other modem Malayalam writers was that in all his creations there was an intense but subtle spiritual yearning of man for the satisfaction of which he explores all secular non- traditional means. The writer N.A. Karim
n and out of hospital with different ailments and with a long affliction of Parkinsons disease O.V. Vijayan the creator of the Legend of Khassack, thinker and cartoonist passed away in a Hyderabad hospital at the early hours of Wednesday, 30th March 2005. He had been living in Secunderabad for quite some time now. Author of thirty books including the Legend of Khazassack, Dharmapuranam, Gurusagaram and Tha/ amuraka/ and winner of Kerala and Kendra Sahitya Akademi Awards and several other prestigious ones including the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram instituted by the Government of Kerala, O.V Vijayan had grown into something of a cult figure. Therefore the void that is created by his death in the literary and cultural life of Kerala is not easy to fill. The novel on the imaginary but now immortal village of Khassak which changed the literary sensibility of Malayalam story readers in a radical way is now celebrated as a contemporary classic of Malayalam fiction. But this early success with his first novel which turned out to be his magnum opus made a victim of his own celebrity the weight of which sat heavily on him throughout his literary career. It is indeed a fact that he could not repeat this early creative achievement in any of his later works let alone the question of transcending the imaginative and philosophical heights he climbed in the
The central character of his Legend, Ravi, did not get the mental succour from the ashram of Bodhananda of which he became an inmate after his mother’s death and after having sexual relationship with his stepmother. Perhaps his emotional discontent
himself was afflicted with a divine discontent. He sought remedy for this at first in literary and cultural life, and later sought refuge in the most traditional Indian spiritual way. He used to visit and make extended stay in the ashram of Karunakara Guru at Pothencode in Kerala. Did his deeply intellectual mind find any solace there? .We are not sure.
was evidently too superficial that he was not driven to make a determined and sustained quest for its real remedy. Sex ~as perhaps a deeper urge in Ravi that it gets the better of supposedly existential agony and falls for the pleasure that women like Mymoona provided with the result that he becomes incapable of responding to the love of Padma who loved him sincerely.
Poetry in Cartoon -
Fatigeued b y their own karmas, great many living billions, move around the world
The first cartoon sketched by O.V. Vijayan, published in Mathrubhumi weekly in 1960.
The question that she asks in her last encounter with him is significant. “What is it that you are trying to run away from?” He was not running away from mundane life in any way. The vague and evasive answer is illustrative of his mental make up. In a very broad sense Vijayan belonged to the mainstream of modem Malayalam novel the foundation of which was laid ’s by the unrelenting realist O. Chandu Menon and the inveterate visionary C. V. Raman Pillai. We find a combination of both in a modem idiom in Vijayan stories
in a general way, is significant. Vijayan’s themes, particularly in his first spectacularly successful work, have been often termed the ex-pression of existential angst. In Kerala of the sixties of the last century there were no sudden socioeconomic or cultural upheavals to give birth to such philosophical concerns or search as in the west though our academics and intellectuals in metropolitan cities were aware of the deepening spiritual crisis in the life of highly industrialized capitalistic societies particularly of the west. The problem of alienation had not set in closely-knit traditional rural and agrarian societies. In the case of Vijayan’s Legend the protagonist of the novel comes from a God- forsaken village in a remote area of predominantly agriculture based Palakkad district. It is true Vijayan has succeeded in giving a magical appeal to the village by suggestively linking it with an undated legendary past.. The time of clock and calendar is dynamited from within. Even the sounds that are produced when east wind plays in the fronds of palms are given a highly evocative mystical quality. It is this touch of timelessness that gives the story of Ravi and Khassak the irresistible appeal. They become archetypal, as it were. Here is a wayward young man caught in a slightly unusual personal situation and unsure of himself and his future. The life and behaviour of Ravi everywhere he went is depicted in such a vaguely romantic way that it captivated the imagination of a new generation of kindred souls who found in
including the story on Khassak. But we find a striking departure from the novels of writers of immediate past like Kesava Dev and Thakazhi in the sense. Viyayan’s concerns are different from the writers of the Malayalam renaissance era. The shift from the social and historical to the personal and philosophical apart from the common fictional tradition they all share
him a mind yearning for new experiences blasting all traditional social or moral norms. This magic of the atmosphere and characterization is the result of the lyrical quality of Vijayan’s narrative prose and the highly suggestive nuances of the words he uses. O.Y. Vijayan could not repeat this with the some perfection and effect in his later stories though flashes of it were in all his writings that gave a peculiar Vijayan hallmark. He gave a spiritual philosophical and universal orientation even for a contemporary political situation as in is Dharmapuranam. A major later work, Thalamurakal, written in the philosophical vein did not evoke the same human interest that the story of Ravi did with his bohemian spiritual vagabondage. The peculiar halo around Ravi’s head is not there in the case of other later characters even when Vijayan tried to cast them in almost the same philosophical mould. The success of Vijayan’s creations is in his ability to combine a sublime sense of tragedy with a subtle streak of comedy. C. Y. wrote his historical novels imbued with a sense of unmitigated tragedy and wrote light plays to give ex-pression to comedy. Vijayan combined both in a remarkably original manner, as he was a writer with multiple perspectives of life including the tragic and the comic, the sublime and ludicrous, the silly and the serious. According to ancient Greeks a great genius is capable of creating both tragedies and comedies with the same skill and perfection. In that sense O.V Vijayan was . a real literary genius. His death is an irreparable loss to serious literature in Malayalam.
We are dust particles out to meet our intervenient destinies one by one.